Known best for his contribution to the music industry as one half of the hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks, 25 year old Jordan Stephens is stepping in a new direction with the launch of new creative collective.
The group, called Bad Colour, take their first step this weekend with an exhibition in Hackney of portraits by the young peoples’ laureate for London, Caleb Femi, titled: “Granite as Heirloom”.
Jordan and Caleb spoke about the new direction their careers are taking as they geared up for the launching exhibition this weekend.
Stephens said: “This is challenging and terrifying – it’s great.
“I’ve personally struggled navigating myself around wanting to do more than one thing. Being signed as a pop star but wanting to do more than just that.
“We live in a generation where we can try our hands at a lot of different things and I happen to be friends with people that are good at more than one thing. I wanted to create an environment where a lot of my friends who are hugely creative, Caleb being one of them, can come together.”
He says of his project – which is a movement of artists, musicians and creatives; promoting critical thought through different media outlets, may it be music, art or fashion.
“Bad colour is a movement, focusing on the promotion of critical thought and utilising the power of creativity and unity to inspire the consumer to feel inspired.”
While Bad Colour is new for fans who know Stephens so well as ‘Jordan from Rizzle Kicks’, for him this venture has been in the making for a long time, first being put on paper as a phrase in a poem he wrote describing the fake colour of Sunny Delight juice.
This passion for poetry and spoken word meant that Stephens and Femi crossed creative paths on numerous occasions.
“I followed him [Femi] on Instagram and saw all of his amazing portraits,” Stephens said.
The next time I did a gig with him I asked if he was going to do anything with them – exhibition wise, in which he replied no and I knew that I had to do something with them – so I created a company.”
Femi’s debut exhibition is about race and identity – featuring pictures of black working-class people. It hopes to raise questions for the audience about the way in which they understand identity.
Femi said of his inspiration: “The majority of it is from the collected experience of the engagement I’ve had with people around me, especially and specifically working-class people. Essentially it’s just a collection of those interactions I’ve had portraying the different ways their culture has to be moulded around different issues and different forms of oppression.”
As this weekends exhibition is Bad Colour’s first event, Femi and Stephen don’t want the event to just be about Granite as Heirloom, and have worked hard to ensure visitors will also go away with an understanding of what is to come for Bad Colour as a collective.
Femi said: “It’s very experimental the way in which we are trying to curate the whole experience to make it more than just coming in and looking at the photos on the wall.
“It’s such a learning curve and I’ve developed such a huge appreciation for curators around the world who have done it well.
Essentially I want people to understand the ethos of Bad Colour and the possibilities of what this whole thing is going to be.”
While June 10 and 11 are going to be big days for Bad Colour as a collective, they will also mark a change for Stephens.
He will also be premiering his music video for “Light of Day”, a new song under his new rap identity – Al The Creative.
Stephens said: “I’ve been Jordan from Rizzle Kicks for a while now and I feel like I’m in a new phase of my life. The song is cool and the lyrics are in keeping with the gallery. It will be nice to show a different element of bad colour so it’s not just Caleb’s work.”
Granite as Heirloom is free and open to the public on the June 10 and 11 at Space Studios, 129-139 Mare Street in Hackney.